In any martial art there is a lot of time spent developing the unarmed, hand-to-hand combat components of the style. The reason being that, in most cases, the lack of weapons, whether for practical or legal reasons, makes unarmed scenarios the most common and most dangerous situation one will encounter; therefore justifying a greater focus in training.
Styles that do incorporate weapons training will often focus on specific weapons uses, be it pistols, chain whips, or bō (Japanese: 棒, “staves”). Though, in many cases carrying such weapons for self-defence may be illegal, or hindered by the impracticality of walking around with a bō in modern society.
This does not mean, however, that there are not weapons available when necessary. In fact, “weapons of opportunity” (as we call them in Krav Maga) are only limited by your imagination, your willingness to use them, and, of course, the legal ramifications of the specific choice of weapon.
When the necessity arises weapons of opportunity should be used only if it is appropriate; if their use avoids further harm to yourself or someone you are aiding. For the sake of simplicity, we divide weapons of opportunity into a few categories: “Sticky,” “Whipy,” “Pokey,” “Throwy,” and “Smashy.”
These are weapons that can be wielded like a stick. They could literally be a stick intended for fighting, like a Kali/Eskrima Stick, or something close enough to stick-like. Below are some examples of objects that can be used as “sticky” weapons:
- Rolled up magazines or newspapers
- An actual stick (from a tree)
These are weapons be used in a whip-like fashion, whether it be an actual strand of material or something loose and supple (like clothing). Because their weight is not balanced, and they usually have a great degree of movement and flexibility, these weapons can be hard to control but are quite readily available. Below are some examples of objects that can be used as whip-like weapons:
“Pokey” weapons are those that can be used in a stabbing motion. Whether they are literally able to penetrate a target or not is less important, but know that if they can break skin then they may be lethal. With these types of weapons the eyes are your best target. Below are some examples of objects that can be used as stabbing weapons:
- Chair legs
These weapons are anything you can throw, and more importantly are willing to throw. Generally, you should be throwing the object at your attacker’s head or eyes, as this will result in the most effective reaction. Injury is not always the goal, throwing something at an assailant to distract or disrupt may be sufficient. However, “throwing” is a relative term, as this could also mean simply pushing, pulling, or tipping objects into the path of would-be attackers in order to create distance and defend yourself. Below are some examples of objects that can be used as thrown weapons:
- Keys (unless they are important!)
- Hats or gloves
Anything you can hold that gives your striking power more bang for its buck is considered “Smashy.” Just know that, depending on the mass and shape of the object and where you hit your attacker, using a “Smashy” weapon can be lethal. Below are some examples of objects that can be used as “Smashy” weapons:
- Keys (clenched in fist)
It should be noted that the authors of this material are not legal experts and this does not constitute legal advice.
While we cannot speak for every country, we can assume that many “Westernized” regions have similar laws to those of ours in Canada.
Carrying weapons for self-defence can be a very risky thing here. If you use something that you had on your person for self-defence, that was designed as a weapon, then it is likely that, if you face court, the case will be made that you had intent (to seriously injure, maim or kill), even if the object was used in self-defence.
Therefore, it is a safer bet to employ objects that were designed for other purposes and are not obviously a weapon. For example, a purse, which would be “Whipy” if wielded by the strap, would not generally be considered a weapon on its own, but rather a “weapon of opportunity”.
However, if you were to add a brick to that purse, then, as this is an odd choice of object to carry in a purse, that addition could be used as an indication of intent; as adding the brick added mass and increased the likely hood of doing serious injury to any attackers.
Consider an alternative. Let’s say you are a student and you need a pencil case for your pens (if you still use such things). Then, perhaps, you choose a pencil case with a hard exterior and a bit of mass. The intent of having this object in your purse would be for holding pencils or pens, but it would also increase the ability of your purse to do damage without seeming suspicious or out of the norm. Additionally, you now have some pens or pencils on hand, which are also convenient, albeit potentially deadly, weapons of opportunity.
After all the boogeyman, John wick himself, is known for killing several men with a pencil.
*Topics under any principle category (Eg. Krav Maga Principles) may be updated from time to time. So check-in every few months to see if the posts have been updated.